Ear wax, also called cerumen, is a yellowish semi-liquid substance produced by wax glands in the external ear canal. The secretion protects your inner ear from external particles such as insects, bacteria and fungi. Experts suggest the yellowish secretion is a self-cleaning agent that helps to lubricate your ear.
Since the secretion is sticky, you may occasionally feel the compulsion of cleaning out your ears. Though various ear cleaning products are available in the market, not all of them are safe. Using such products, knowingly or unknowingly, can damage the ear drum. There are safe methods of ear wax cleaning which you may adopt that can clean and protect your ear from damage.
Ear Cleaning Methods
Some ear cleaning methods that physicians often opt for are as under:
- Cerumenolytic: Using cerumenolytic agents like hydrogen peroxide, olive oil or saline water (a sodium bicarbonate solution) helps in softening the wax. This can eventually remove the wax from the ear. It is suggested that cerumenolytic can be used 2-3 times every day for 3-5 days before cerumen extraction.
- Syringing: After the softening of cerumen by cerumenolytic agent, irrigation of ear canal can take out wax and debris out of the ear. A gentle stream of warm saline water or sodium bicarbonate solution is entered through a syringe to irrigate the ear. After this, the head is tipped so as to drain the water. Irrigation is repeated many times.
- Curette and Swabs: Physicians often remove the ear wax using ear pick. It scoops out the wax off the ear canal.
Some people also clean ears with peroxide solution. But that can be harmful because if wax is real solid. Hydrogen peroxide may not be able to dissolve it, producing bubbles. This can lead to damage of the ear drum. Also, it is necessary to use hydrogen peroxide at room temperature; otherwise, this can cause dizziness and fainting.